12/05/2009

The BBC on the computer programming used by the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit



John Graham-Cumming strikes as a straight shooter. He both criticizes and defends parts of their programming. Here are the links to the last three posts that he has put up on his blog.

Whoops. There's a third bug in that code.

We should probably feel sorry for Ian 'Harry' Harris at CRU

Reading through the code and then through his HARRY_READ_ME.TXT you can see a man up against something that was slightly outside his ability. I don't mean that in a nasty way; what was needed was a professional programmer and not a professional scientist.

In the midst of the file we find the following plaintive exclamations:
Something is very poorly. It's my programming skills, isn't it.


and
So, once again I don't understand statistics. Quel surprise, given that
I haven't had any training in stats in my entire life, unless you count
A-level maths.


and
and.. yup, my awful programming strikes again.


and
So, good news - but only in the sense that I've found the error.
Bad news in that it's a further confirmation that my abilities are
short of what's required here.


Bugs in the software flash the message 'Something's out there'

The more I look at the software used by the folks at CRU, the more I think: "these guys seriously need to hire a professional programmer." The code is mostly an undocumented, untested tangled mess of little programs. Ugh.

Oh, and it's buggy. . . .

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3 Comments:

Blogger AlisonCurrie said...

I enjoyed your post John. I am an Education student at Texas Christian University. I am currently enrolled in a class titled: "Digital Explosion" that is a discussion based course that details the ways in which technology influences our lives. You mention in your post that there needed to be a professional programmer instead of a professional scientist that decoded the information at CRU. My question is: do we need to hire more professional programmers in these scenarios or do we need to create technological programs that teach these professionals to interpret and interact with certain data? Do you think this company has the funds to support a technology program or would it be simpler to hire more staff?

12/07/2009 10:59 PM  
Blogger AlisonCurrie said...

This may be a little off subject but your article made me think about computer programming. After reading your article, I pondered what is the demand for specialized programmers? Can one simply be a programmer or do they need to have other specifications. I came upon this site: http://www.guru.com/category.cfm?cid=800&gclid=CK_4_7Ct1J4CFRSdnAodu0OUrQ. This site includes at least 1,000 professional programmers' profiles that are looking for jobs. Since, my background is not in technology and I am still a college student I did not realize that extent to which companies really need specifically trained technology professionals in all walks of businesses. These seems logical I just did not realize the extent. I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to reading more.

12/13/2009 4:34 PM  
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12/21/2009 12:30 AM  

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